Sunday November 8th, 2015

Following an 11-month vacancy of its ombudsman position, ESPN last week named longtime digital journalist Jim Brady to be the company's public editor. Brady follows Robert Lipsyte in the position, though Brady will carry the title of public editor where Lipsyte and the previous people in the position served as the company’s ombudsman.

“We are updating the title to ‘public editor’ to better reflect the goal of transparency and advocacy for fans, especially in this increasingly multimedia world,” said Patrick Stiegman, vice president and editorial director for ESPN Digital & Print Media, chairman of ESPN's editorial board and the editor of the ombudsman column in a statement. “And given the multitude of touch points we have with our audience, it’s imperative that the public editor have the breadth of experience and journalistic credibility to serve as an advocate and explainer for fans across all media.”

These are noble words and major credit to ESPN for having the position. (I think all serious news organizations should, including SI.) While the position (and those who have held it) have had little long-term impact at ESPN, they do have access to decision-makers and talent and can illuminate some of editorial issues that arrive at the network daily. In the carefully crafted ESPN PR release Stiegman suggested that the position will offer less constructive criticism has previous ombudsman columns did.

Said Stiegman:  "This role is not about playing critic, per se, but instead helping demystify ESPN for fans, explaining our culture and standards, and commenting on journalism, coverage and programming decisions."

One such issue that could use demystifying for fans is the dissolution of Grantland. Writing with fury for The Nation last week, Lipsyte, ESPN’s previous ombudsman, was highly critical of ESPN management shutting down the sports and pop culture site. Wrote Lipsyte “Now without Grantland, ESPN is left with a modern version of its namesake’s four horsemen—cliché, scuttlebutt, squawk radio, and conflict of interest.”

• ESPN decision to kill Grantland is sad for its employees, sports fans

Realizing he painted too much of ESPN with a broad brush, Lipstye, a sports journalism Hall of Famer, rightly softened his stance in a postscript, praising Outside the Lines and the network’s the investigative unit. He could have also praised hundreds of more reporters, writers, anchors and behind the scenes production people who care about journalism in Bristol, as I imagine Lipsyte knows. But reading Lipsyte’s final columns here and here and the months that passed since Brady’s hire, I’ll let you judge the impact of the ombudsman/public editor and whether it has real impact or is window dressing.

Admirably, as his previous ombudsman colleagues did, Brady agreed to an interview with SI prior to his start date (Nov. 15). His tenure runs 18 months.

SI.com: Why did you want this job?

Brady: For the reasons I mentioned in the release. Whatever one thinks of ESPN, it's hard to deny that it is one of the more fascinating media companies on Earth. It has massive business relationships with major sports leagues and entities, yet has to cover them journalistically. And, while less discussed, it is also dealing with seminal issues like how a changing business model will impact its journalism, how it handles multiplying platforms and consumer demands, and how it views and addresses its expanding competitive set. So, despite its market dominance, ESPN still faces fascinating challenges. I thought it would be interesting to chronicle and critique how it addresses those challenges.

Have you been assured by ESPN that you will have complete independence and if so, how so?

Brady: Yes. I can write whatever about I'd like.

Do you have any thought yet as to what the subject of your first column will be?

Brady: Not yet, though it may be a more introductory one that is less about me personally, but more how I see the evolution of the position and where I fit into the communication flow between readers and ESPN.

When will your first column be published?

Brady: Later in November. Before I publish anything, I need to spend some time getting up to speed. This is not a good position to go off half-cocked. I think the appointment had been announced for about five minutes before I was being asked on Twitter to assess ESPN's handling of certain topics. Gut reactions are fine, but need to be balanced by information gathering from involved parties.

Patrick Stiegman said, “We are updating the title to ‘public editor’ to better reflect the goal of transparency and advocacy for fans, especially in this increasingly multimedia world.” A couple of questions off this: In your opinion, has ESPN been a transparent organization with the public and why?

Brady: Hard question for me to answer. I've never been inside ESPN, and it's hard to judge transparency without knowing the gap between internal knowledge and external communication. But ESPN has had an ombudsman for a decade, so I think it deserves a lot of credit for that. I don't know of any other major sports media organization that has someone in this role. I understand there was some concern over the gap between the end of Robert Lipsyte's term and my appointment, but, let's be honest, the easiest way to avoid having anyone criticizing a gap between ombudsmen/public editors is to not have the role at all. When I was running washingtonpost.com, we were one of the first big news sites in the country to launch comments. We ran into a serious issue with moderation early on and had to shut down comments on one of our blogs. We were attacked as fascists for doing this, but the irony was that most of our competitors didn't have comments at all, and thus didn't risk the same fate. So whatever one thinks of the ombudsman role, I think the fact it exists counts for a lot.

Chris Connelly on went right, wrong with Grantland

Why is public editor a more accurate title for this role than ombudsman?

Brady: Because I think the public needs to be represented in the overall discussion. No offense to the journalists who cover ESPN, but what I write about should not be based solely on what they think should be addressed. They have their own sources and ability to report. So while I'm sure we'll end up reporting on a lot of the same issues, I see that a shared responsibility. But if readers have questions that may not rise to the level of crucial, but really matter to them, those should be addressed too. To me, "ombudsman" -- albeit an honorable and crucial role -- is more focused on being an internal critic. Being a public editor is more about sitting between the organization and its consumers to help explain things a bit more. Many of those things will overlap with what journalists think need to be addressed, but not all.

How much criticism should a public editor offer and why?

Brady: Whatever is necessary at that specific time. Don't mean that to sound snarky, but, obviously, it depends. You just can't be afraid to be critical when it's necessary.

How would you characterize your consumption of ESPN platforms on a daily basis?

Brady: Heavy. It's sort of the background music to a decent chunk of my day, though I have to confess almost all my fantasy football teams are on CBS Sports.

How interested are you in examining the dissolution of Grantland and why?

Brady: I'm sure that will be addressed early on.

• MEDIA CIRCUS: Taking a look at ESPN’s handling of Grantland

How interested are you in examining the dissolution of the relationship between Bill Simmons and ESPN, and why?

Brady: Insofar as that's part of the larger Grantland discussion, very interested.

How interested are you in examining ESPN’s coverage of the Patriots controversy and its coverage of the NFL as a whole, and why?

Brady: I'm sure coverage of the NFL will be a topic worthy of discussion, being it's probably been a persistent topic of discussion for years. As for the Patriots part of that, we'll see. Based on my Twitter feed, I suspect Patriots fans may have a position on my ability to report on them, being that I'm a lifelong and devoted Jets fan and have the scars to prove it. But, in journalism, you put aside your own biases to cover things fairly, and I think putting aside loyalties to sports teams is a hell of a lot easier than putting aside deeply held beliefs in politics or social causes. But I'll let the work speak for itself, and anyone is certainly free to tell me what they think via Twitter, Facebook or wherever.

How frequently will you write?

Brady: Still working through that. But, in general, looking to have a more frequent presence via some shorter takes.

Will there be an ESPN ombudsman Twitter feed?

Brady: Yes, will be launched in the coming one to two weeks.

Would the layoffs of 300-plus employees be something the ESPN public editor addresses and why?

Brady: Sure, but largely in the context of how it impacts the journalism and content side. I'm not here to be - nor am I qualified to be - a business analyst. But the state of the business obviously impacts the journalism, and that is my purview.

Every day on ESPN's various platforms you can find someone who says something provocative, particularly on ESPN Radio or First Take. How much should you get into the day-to-day chatter that some viewers might perceive as reckless such as threatening an NBA player on air?

Brady: Really depends on the specifics. In general, no, I don't want to be the guy dealing with the "Outrage of the Week." There are no shortage of media critics out there, so I don't feel like controversies based on things that are publicly aired or published is really my sweet spot. To me, how those things are dealt with internally is where I can be more useful.

How will you will select topics and approach each column?

Brady: Hard to say. I think it'll be a combination of more breaking stuff and some thematic work. I do think looking at how ESPN is dealing with a fast-emerging competitive set and multiplying platforms is interesting. So I suspect you'll see a balance between more thematic and pieces based on more quick-twitch stuff.

How familiar are you with the work of previous ESPN ombudsman and did you speak with any of them prior to taking this assignment?

Brady: I talked a bit to Kelly McBride, who was one of Poynter's ombudsmen, but other than that, no. I do have some connections to the previous ombudsmen, though. George Solomon hired me for my first journalism job, as a part-timer in The Washington Post sports department in 1987. In fact, I installed the first browser on George's computer when I was running washingtonpost.com's sports department in 1996. Plus, he and I still talk, so I'm sure we'll have an opportunity to discuss this. I also currently serve on Poynter's National Advisory Board, and am friendly with both Kelly and Jason Fry, so suspect I'll be talking to both of them too.

• TIME: Why Grantland couldn’t outlast Simmons’s ouster from ESPN

Something every public editor must face is how valued their critique or suggestions are within that organization. Why do you believe ESPN will follow your suggestions?

Brady: I have no idea if they will or not. That's beyond my direct control. All I can do is do the reporting, observe what I see and make the best case I can for what I believe. If I make that case persuasively, then I assume the chances of creating real change increase. But I've done a decent amount of consulting in my life, and know that your success is roles like this is sometimes more tied to how you communicate your ideas than the ideas themselves.

As far as you understand it, what kind of access will you have at ESPN regarding inquiries of staffers?

Brady: I'll be able to reach out to anyone, but no one is under any obligation to participate, which is pretty much standard for ombudsman/public eds.

As far as you understand it, how many people will edit your copy before it is published?

Brady: One. Patrick [Stiegman].

What is the ESPN program or platform you consume the most right now and why?

Brady: espn.com on desktop and mobile, followed by TV. I'm a digital guy and connected 24/7, so digital platforms tend to be my main outlet.

How many hours a week have you committed to this job?

Brady: No specific commitment. Will depend on the week and what's going on. I'm the first person doing this by himself who's also got a full-time job, so have to balance that as well. I've spent the past 18 months funding and building billypenn.com in Philadelphia, and that commitment won't change an iota. I think having someone dealing with trying to build a media business by day was appealing to ESPN too, since it gives me a real-time perspective on some of the challenges it is facing as well. Just on a slightly different scale.

THE NOISE REPORT

SI.com examines some of the week’s most notable sports media stories

1. The fascinating life of André René Roussimoff would make for a great documentary but last week’s report that Bill Simmons and well-respected sports documentarian Jon Hock have teamed up for an HBO doc on wrestling icon Andre The Giant is false. Reached on Thursday by SI.com, Hock confirmed that he’s never talked to Simmons or HBO about such a project and he is not working on any Andre The Giant film. He did say he remains close with Simmons and enjoyed making the New York Post’s popular Page Six column.

1a. Many moons ago when I wore a younger man’s clothes, I co-hosted a daily, drive-time sports-talk show on WWKB-AM Radio in Buffalo, New York, a clear-channel, 50,000-watt station that could be heard on some nights as far as St. Louis. I played second banana to a talented broadcaster named Rich Redanz and we made some small inroads as (my words) an intelligent option to the hot take sports talkers in town. Eventually, the local KB staff was jettisoned for syndicated programming and our slot was taken by G. Gordon Liddy. I chalked that up as Nixon’s revenge for my left-leaning mother.

Radio is where I ultimately thought I’d end up in sports media – it remains my favorite medium – but I loved writing as much as talking and I was fortunate to land at Sports Illustrated after graduate school. I’ve remained forever in love with the medium, especially sports-talk, so it was a treat last week to travel to Toronto to serve as the in-studio co-host on Canada’s most-listened-to sports-talk show, Prime Time Sports with Bob McCown. It’s a show I’ve been a guest on for many years and last week was a fascinating primer on Canadian sports media.

My takeaway after a week (which isn’t long enough for an in-depth takeaway) is that the sports discourse on the radio in Canada is much more thoughtful and nuanced than the States. Part of that is a reduction in the commercialism of the product. McCown’s show, for instance, can go 20-plus minutes with a guest without a commercial block. (Try seeing that on ESPN Radio.) No doubt there are some heated discussions on the Leafs (and why it went wrong with former Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos) but there’s not a pathological obsession with embrace debate style television or radio that there is in the States. I also didn’t hear any on-air person compare leadership at the point guard position with a strong father figure growing up so that was a delightful surprise. Nor did I hear any on-air talent trolling the fan bases of colleges. (Clearly, I was far from home.)

On Friday, as part of a roundtable discussion with McCown, Sportsnet NHL analyst Elliotte Friedman and SportsNet Hockey Central analyst John Shannon, we had a long discussion on the differences between U.S. Media and Canada Media. I thought you might find it interesting and it’s linked here.

Thanks to McCown, producers Matt Marchese and Jeff Azzopardi, and program director Dave Cadeau for a fabulous week and incredible hospitality for me and my family

1b. ESPN confirmed that commentator Stephen A. Smith, who hosted SportsCenter last Friday, will host SportsCenter again in the future. Given Smith has the backing of ESPN executive vice president of programming and production John Wildhack and Rob King, the company’s senior vice president of SportsCenter and news, as well as a large, long-term contract, he’s become one of the most powerful on-air people at ESPN. Look for Smith to continue to be used in more forums, as he was on Sunday for a discussion on Greg Hardy and on ESPN’s Sunday NFL Insiders. This continues a trend of Smith becoming one of ESPN’s most prominent voices on issues of domestic violence and athletes.

1c. Here’s CBS’s The NFL Today discussing Deadspin’s story on Greg Hardy last week

1d. Here’s ESPN’s Wendi Nix, placing the aim where it should be aimed regarding Hardy – on Dallas owner Jerry Jones and sponsors for the Cowboys 

1e. Sports broadcasting is a subject endeavor but Saturday night my Twitter feed was echoing in large numbers the criticism from Slate writer and editor Josh Levin of the late-game performance of the CBS broadcasting crew for Arkansas-Ole Miss, especially the oddly low-key call of Carter Blackburn and Aaron Taylor when the Razorbacks faced a fourth-and-25 in overtime and converted on a wild lateral.

1f. ESPN’s broadcast of No. 1 Clemson’s win over No. 16 Florida State earned a 5.5 overnight rating, the third highest overnight for any college football game in 2015, across all networks.

2. I asked several sports media writers and bloggers what they were looking for from Brady’s tenure as ESPN’s public editor:

Tim Burke, Deadspin:

ESPN has historically handcuffed its ombudsmen by denying them the typical access provided to those serving in that role and, thus, severely limiting the degree to which they can highlight opportunities for change. If ESPN finally realizes its responsibility to the public—and, perhaps, by retitling the position as "public editor" they do—then Jim Brady's responsibilities must include illuminating the myriad inconsistencies with regard to sponsors, paid spokesmanships, and league deals versus how those issues are covered on-air and online. That having been said, I'm skeptical given ESPN's press release downplays Brady's role as critic and instead describes his responsibilities as largely promotional.

Ty Duffy, The Big Lead:

The public editor should be an honest, exacting, and fair conduit between a news outlet and its consumers. That role is vital at a large, amorphous outlet such as ESPN, with a wide net and a myriad of potential conflicts of interest with its entertainment division. Transparency and dialogue have been notably absent during a year of controversies, website shutterings, and peculiar departures. Jim Brady seems to have the necessary bona fides in print and digital to fulfill that role in 2015. Hopefully, he does.

Robert Littal, founder and editor, Black Sports Online:

The most important thing is I hope Mr. Brady is allowed to speak without restrictions on the multiple hypocrisies that flow through ESPN.  ESPN, because they are the Worldwide Leader, are allowed without any repercussions to contradict themselves on almost a daily basis. It doesn’t matter if it is their programming, how they hand out internal discipline, or biased coverage of leagues and athletes; it is mind boggling. Mr. Brady has a unique opportunity to answer questions, or at least ask the tough questions that ESPN either by choice or circumstance refuses to do.

Jim Miller, author, These Guys Have All The Fun: Inside The World of ESPN:

From the start, Brady’s tenure will be an outlier: This will be the first time someone has performed these duties without John A. Walsh at the company. Walsh was vital to the creation of the ombudsman role at ESPN and played an important role throughout the previous five terms of service. Vince Doria has left the building as well. So the first questions are who will Brady be touching base with when performing his duties? Who is going to make sure he gets access to vital information and key people? And how committed is ESPN to this role?

Beyond those internal dynamics, how will Brady define success for his term? Is he going to focus on internal processes in order to make sure ESPN sourcing and news gathering remains consistent with best journalistic practices? Is he going to look outward — to listen to what viewers and readers of ESPN content have to say and report them back with analysis and recommendations for all to see? Can he do both? And since he is now the “public editor,” rather than having the title of ombudsman, how often will he be communicating with the public? How responsive will he be to those who reach out to him?

This job never gets easier. Godspeed, Mr. Brady.

John Ourand, Sports Business Daily:

When you combine ESPN’s decision to switch the title from “ombudsman" to “public editor” with Jim Brady’s digital background, I think you’re going to see a much more modern take on the position. Gone are the days when people will have to wait a month to see ESPN’s ombudsman weigh in on a matter of import. Brady will use social media and podcasts much more frequently in a way that gives much more up-to-date takes on ESPN’s editorial issues. I find Brady’s background particularly interesting. Previously, ESPN hired ink-stained wretches for the position: George Solomon, LeAnne Schreiber, Robert Lipsyte. Brady doesn’t have the same kind of print journalism chops, having spent much of his career in an online newsroom. It will be interesting for me to see how that makes his overall coverage different.

Ed Sherman, founder and editor, The Sherman Report; writer on sports journalism for Poynter:

First and foremost, I would like to see the new ESPN public editor write with greater frequency and even on a regular schedule. Previously, I always felt wanting more from the ombudsman. It was frustrating that the critiques seemed to appear like some random package dropped off by the mailman. There is plenty to write about at ESPN, and a regular schedule could force Brady to take a deeper dive into the issues that went untouched by his predecessors. In the near term, I would like read what Brady has to say about the demise of Grantland. It seems like a good starting point for a first column. Ultimately, I will be interested in Brady's views on ESPN's journalism in light of the network's TV right deals with the various leagues. The scrutiny is more intense than ever and that will include Brady's perspectives on this issue.

Matt Yoder, Awful Announcing:

The most interesting thing about Brady's hire by ESPN is the shift to someone with such digital expertise. It's a distinct turn away from previous ombudsmen with more traditional print or television experience for the role like Robert Lipsyte. The new title of "public editor" makes me think we'll see a pivot as well. I'd expect Brady to focus on some of the big-picture issues facing ESPN like their increased focus on digital and their place in an ever-changing media world instead of getting knee-deep in what Curt Schilling is tweeting or which NBA player Stephen A. Smith is issuing ominous threats to this week.  Given the sweeping changes that will probably take place over the next decade, it's a forward-thinking move.

2b. Tweets from Brady (an ardent Jets fan) about the Patriots were highlighted by Patriots Nation upon his being named ESPN’s Public Editor. The implication? Given his Jets fandom, Brady could not objectively analyze reporting by ESPN staffers about the Pats, especially in the climate of Deflate-gate. Former ESPN-er Bill Simmons, a noted Patriots honk, could not resist taking a shot at the optics. Tweeted Simmons: “It would be hilarious if it turned out that ESPN's new ombudsman was a Jets fan who hated the Patriots. Brady responded by tweeting: “Breaking news: Lifelong #Jets fan does not like #Patriots. Has zero to do with judging the journalism produced about them. Given the focus by Simmons and Boston-based outlets (Barstool Sports and WEEI Radio), Brady’s Twitter mentions Friday on this topic were a trainwreck. I’d like to think reasonable people will give Brady the benefit of the doubt here. I can’t see him looking the other way as a Public Editor because of his NFL team allegiance.

3. The 28th episode of the Sports Illustrated Media Podcast features NFL Network commentator Scott Hanson, who hosts NFL RedZone for that network.

In this episode, Hanson tells listeners how the show comes together each Sunday, how many people are on set with him, why fantasy football is so crucial to Red Zone's success, why they fight to never show a commercial, his thoughts on how much editorializing he should do during the broadcast, his work on medical missions around the globe (during the NFL off-season, of course) and more.

A reminder: you can subscribe to the podcast on iTunes and Stitcher, and you can view all of SI's podcasts here. If you have any feedback, questions or suggestions, please comment here or tweet at me.

4. Non-sports pieces of note:

Deadspin’s Diana Moskovitz had a deeply reported piece on why Greg Hardy was arrested for assaulting his ex-girlfriend

• Via the New Yorker’s Nathan Heller: A College Romance That Turned To Murder

• From The Big RoundtableHeroin: A Love Story

• War has driven 30 million children from their homes. These are the stories of three of them

• From ProPublica: The Terror that ravaged Little Saigon and the story of five murdered Vietnamese-American journalists

• Sarah Hepola, writing for Texas Monthly, on the culture of alcohol and sexual assault

• One of Australia's most wanted fugitives, Michael Hand, the co-founder of the Sydney-based international merchant bank Nugan Hand, has been found alive and well and living in small-town America 

Rolling Stone’s Brian Hiatt profiles Adele

USA Today reporters followed nine people released from solitary. All vowed not to return. They all did. 

• Great Brooks Barnes profile of siblings who control James Bond franchise 

Sports pieces of note:

• Via Kathryn Schulz: What We Think About When We Run 

• From Tennis.com: Mourning Grantland, a place that was very good to, and for, tennis 

• Detroit Free Press sports writer Jeff Seidel on the life and death of a young athlete in Michigan 

• Tackling Paid Patriotism: A Joint Oversight Report

The Indianapolis Star’s Gregg Doyel, on a woman who watched her daughter win a state title—and died 40 hours later 

• ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun on waiting for the first openly gay NHL player

5. The 10th annual Shirley Povich Symposium will be held Tuesday at 7 p.m. at the Riggs Alumni Center on the Maryland campus. This year’s topic is "Sportswriting: Then and Now” featuring a panel moderated by Maury Povich that includes Tony Kornheiser, Michael Wilbon, Sally Jenkins, Christine Brennan, Jeremy Schaap and Chelsea Janes. Donald  Graham will make opening remarks about the impact Shirley Povich had on the Post.

5a. Writing for Fox Sports’ in-house public relations microsite, Michael Mulvihill, the network’s senior vice president of programming, research & content strategy, wrote a piece on why observers should (in his opinion) judge World Series viewership through a different prism than national ratings.

5b. Awful Announcing had a Q&A with Jim Nantz on his travel schedule.

5c. Economist David Berri, for Vice Sports, on the State of the WNBA.

5d. The general manager of Awful Announcing, Ben Koo, offers his opinion on why Grantland was shut down.

5e. Fox said October was its most-watched month ever, with 47.8 million people watched at least six minutes of FS1 programming. The network aired the American League Division and League Championship Series coverage, and well as USA-Mexico CONCACAF CUP on Oct. 10 scored 1,561,000 viewers, a new FS1 record for men’s soccer.

5f. ESPNU and SEC Network have hired six new analysts and four new play-by-play commentators for the upcoming men’s college basketball season including analysts Glen “Big Baby” Davis, Andrew DeClercq and John Pelphrey (SEC Network) and Jason Capel, Antwan Jamison, and Chris Spatola (ESPNU) and play by play voices Ted Emrich, Alex Faust, Kevin Fitzgerald and Jenn Hildreth (all ESPNU).

• MORE: See all of SI.com's preseason college basketball coverage

5g. Former ESPN anchor Steve Bunin echoes the thoughts of a lot of his former ESPN colleagues here.

5h. Chuck Gerber, a longtime ESPN executive who helped build the network’s college coverage before leaving the network in 2008 to work as a highly paid consultant for the SEC, died on Saturday at age 71. I asked Burke Magnus, ESPN’s current executive vice president of programming and scheduling, to pass along a few words of what the well-liked Gerber meant to him.

Chuck Gerber was a force. Whether it was in a conference room, a production truck or ordering lunch, he was always in full command. In an age where we too casually toss around words like "authentic" and "unique," Chuck was exactly that. True to himself until the very end - intelligent, brash, outspoken, honest and caring. His impact on our industry was extraordinary. Chuck's fingerprints are all over the experience of the modern sports fan. The list is long - The Skins Game, ESPN Regional Television, College Football Awards Show, ESPNU, Saturday Night Football on ABC, the SEC Network, the NCAA Tournament and the College Football Playoff to name a few.  His closest friends are a who's who of our business -- great people and leaders like Mike Slive, Howard Katz, Don Ohlmeyer and Geoff Mason.  He gravitated toward smart, strong, no-nonsense people.

In a conference room during a deal (his natural habitat), it was always about business and never personal.  Chuck had an innate ability to have very difficult conversations and always emerge with relationships intact and in many cases stronger.

Perhaps Chuck's greatest accomplishment, however, was his connection with the people with whom he worked.  He was a wonderful manager. He cared about people and it showed. It was his habit to walk the halls of ESPN regularly.  He would simply come into your office and sit down.  He would force you to engage, and that's when the magic happened.  Now if he needed to work through a concern of his own, the approach was the opposite.  He would stand in your doorway and say, "let's take a walk."  While he was looking for your help, it was always a two-way conversation. He was generous and gave something back in every situation.

Chuck's caring nature was on full display with his family as well. There was nothing more important to him. The times that my wife and I spent with Chuck and his wife Daryl are treasured memories.

When Chuck left ESPN in 2008 to work with the SEC,  I took over his role and his old office at ESPN.  On my first day in the new office, I opened the top desk drawer and found a hand-written note from Chuck wishing me good luck and giving me a last blast of advice. The note ended as follows:

"P.S. - Don't $&@# it up!"

That was Chuck and I will miss him greatly.

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